A fairytale come to life, this remote village features carefully preserved Victorian-era century homes, a visual and architectural feast. On a peaceful foggy morning or sunny afternoon, stroll Main Street to see buildings in all their gingerbread finery; many buildings now house B&Bs, artisan chocolatiers, galleries, and craft shops. (Holidays are especially magical, with locals stringing twinkly lights everywhere, and horse-drawn carriages giving clip-clop rides around town.)
But no, this is no façade dressed up for show only. Ferndale is very much a working town, the provenance of Scandinavian, Swiss-Italian, and Portuguese immigrants who settled the tucked-away community in the mid-1800s, drawn here by the booming dairy industry. Read their names in Ferndale’s 1868 cemetery, one of the state’s most beautiful burial sites. Take in sweeping views of the one-square-mile town. Let your eyes follow the Eel River westward to the sea, five miles away—a view little changed since those settlers came here long ago.